Reading books

In these days I have been reading a very interesting book in my target language Italian and until now I really enjoyed the lecture. But since some days I have the impression not to move forward any more, I have to read the text again and again, suddenly I don’t understand quiet well, I forget details, there is no more fun. Now I am afraid of wasting time and therefore losing my motivation even if I don’t want to give up my lecture.
It’s like a reading and understanding blockade. Or perhaps a question of concentration?

Something that happens to me when I am listening or reading extensively (native podcasts or whole books) is I start to forget that my brain is working harder than if I was working in my native language. I’m enjoying myself so much I forget I’m getting tired quicker. I will reach a point (depending on how much energy and enthusiasm I have) when my comprehension goes from very high to very low quite quickly. If something like this is happening to you, don’t worry! I don’t think it is a comprehension problem, but a concentration problem. Take a break, relax, come back to it when you are feeling you have more energy. You’ll be surprised how much you understand. And you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

At different points in language learning there are different limiting factors. When we’re intensively/extensively learning a language it is worth reminding ourselves that energy is one of those!


Thank you spcole, you are absolutely right, until now I haven’t thought about this point of view.
I took a good break and think that I will try to continue very soon with my lecture :slight_smile:

Hello Lisel,

Just continue reading. I am reading a lot, and I notice that it gets easier. If a book is too difficult, just take an easier one. I noticed for Portuguese, I left aside a difficult one for me, read two easy ones, came back to the difficult one, started from the beginning, and now I could read it without difficulty! I sometimes copy and paste the text of the books into LingQ, so I can easily look up unknown words in the dictionary.

Good luck,


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I always forget details of books that I read. I also find that my ability to concentrate varies, and is most influenced by my interest and familiarity with the subject matter. On top of that, my ability in a foreign language tends to fluctuate, although the direction is definitely towards improvement.

I believe that is impossible to expose oneself to more and more of the language without improving, that is to say, without our brain become more and more used to the language. You may not always notice this, but I am sure it is happening You just need to continue and remain patient and most of all try to enjoy your reading. Some days you will feel a sense of achievement and some days you will feel you are not progressing. This is all normal I think.

I would also suggest varying the reading content. Vary it by subject matter, and by level of difficulty. The brain needs novelty as well as repetition. You will find that your focus will improve.

Thank you, Steve! So Which books I should use to learn English? I found some materials but I don’t know which is the best to get started. They are : Oxford bookworms, Nancy Drew books series, 4000 essential english words. Could you tell me how to read these books? Should I translate a word to understand a content (likely Dr.Stephen said “People acquire a language one way and only one way: comprehensible input in low anxiety situation”) or should I read for pleasure and ignore words I don’t know?

I often run into unknown words and simply skip them if they don’t impede my comprehension much or don’t seem like very important or common words. This happens even when reading in my native language. I will stop and look up other words that seem more useful. This way I’m reading for pleasure, not stopping all the time, and picking up useful words as I go. I mostly enjoy fiction novels appropriate for my level and read them in this fashion.

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Yes I do, I continue reading, Silviad!
I like your idea to get copied and pasted some text part of a book into LingQ, but how do you do this so that you can work with the text?

Well, you would have to have the text in electronic format of course. That is why I bought an e-reader. It is easier and cheaper to buy electronic books in foreign languages. Alass, then I have to cheat, because to copy and paste text, I first have to remove the DRM.
Good luck,

Perfect motivation, Steve!
Now I try to vary my lecture, will interrupt reading the old book for a while and start with a new one in which I have already been interested in for a long time. Let’s see, perhaps after a pleasant new lecture I would like to return to the old one and will finish it. If not…no problem.

Actually I am thinking about to highlight new unknown words in colour, even in books. Perhaps this would help me to recognize and remember faster some of these words in another context.